stepping stones of truth

A journey along the path of life - the stones can be rough, smooth or even wobbly!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

"All good gifts around us...."

...goes a traditional of hymn that is sung at the celebrations of Harvest Festivals in most village churches at this time of year.

A brief photo diary of an autumn weekend (descriptions under the images)

Saturday : a bellringing outing, which meant leaving home early enough to see the sun rising over the hills of home.

We were ringing bells on Dartmoor, and the first stop is Widecombe-in-the-moor. In the summer, crowded with tourists, but today it was quiet and peaceful.

You can stand in the churchyard and see the a tor (Haytor I think) outcropping on the skyline.

This was taken in another Dartmoor village - Lustleigh. Nice light bells with a lovely sound. You felt like you had stepped back in time as the village was hardly touched by this century, nestled in the side of a valley.

On to Dunsford, where their Harvest Festival service was the next day. The sheaf of oats stood proudly at the door.

Opposite the sheaf in the porch, a colourful medley of veg sat on the bench seat.

The flower ladies had skill and I loved the way the ivy twined naturally around the pillars and linked the flowers over the stone arch. We had a chat - in between ringing - to the ladies who were putting the finishing touches to their creations all over the church. They said that there are no younger people coming behind them to learn all this, and as they get older and die off, the art and expertise will be lost in this church.

The next day, Sunday, Youngest Daughter and I planned to make the most of the good weather and climb Golden Cap (in the background above) the highest cliff on the Dorset coast. Much to our surprise the Man Of The House accompanied us. We bought crab sandwiches at Burton Bradstock ("possibly the best crab sandwiches in the world") and took them with us to eat on the summit.

When we reached the top, it was getting misty (and quite autumnal) in the late afternoon and the views along the coast towards Devon were hazy (the direction that I had been the day before). We had climbed 200 metres nearly straight up. I needed to turn back and look at the view quite often (and catching my breath was purely coincidental, you understand!)

A convenient gate to lean on, and admire the view out to sea.

Blackberries are always welcome snacks along the way, but these were taking their time ripening.Youngest Daughter leads the way, what a relief to being going downhill now.

I have an idea that these are definitely NOT edible, but a wonderfully twined garland.

That evening it was the Harvest Home in our own village and these two baskets had been brought along (by the same person) to decorate not the church but........

...the village hall ! Its such a change from the formal service in a cold church, this must be more like the celebrations of old times - meeting friends and neighbours around a table, offering some prayers of thanks for a good harvest and also for a good lifestyle of plenty when many around the world have so little. I think more people turn up when its not in church. We ate a simple "ploughman's lunch" of bread, cheese and pickle and had an auction of garden produce (inflated prices of course, as the proceeds went to a charity to buy a cow for a third world family, and to send boxes of food to Eastern Europe where times are hard.

The trees are turning colour more now, and there are hints of golds and yellows, but the only reds around the house are the Virginia Creeper that looks so good against the flint. I am standing outside the patio door looking up at the gutter!

And the very last sweet pea is red too, and I just had to catch the droplets of rain.


At 5:07 am, Blogger Val said...

There was much of this post that I enjoyed, but my heart skipped a beat when you wrote that that village was mostly untouched by this century - I'm assuming you mean the 20th century. So there really are such places left in England? How wonderful, and lucky for you to be able to visit so easily.

I've left another reading suggestion for you in my Currently Reading section, dear Val.

At 12:50 pm, Blogger Tabor said...

It is fun trying to go back in time. The busy world is so much with us that finding something unusual and peaceful is nice.

At 7:49 am, Blogger Reflection Through The Seasons said...

I have so much enjoyed this lovely post Val, your pictures too. The gate you stopped to lean on, is perfectly located for taking in the beautiful view, yes, I would have lingered while there too.

The weather in Wales has been so dull this past week, we haven’t seen the sun since last Wednesday. There is just a patch of pink in the sky as dawn breaks this morning, so I’m hoping!!! But what do they say red sky in the morning - Shepherd’s warning!!!! Marion

At 1:07 pm, Blogger Kerri said...

So often our weather seems to parallel. Marion's description could've been mine for the past week, but with one beautiful day in the middle. Yesterday was a lovely one too but I had to work. No frost yet! We still have flowers!
Your snaps show a very enjoyable weekend Val. I'd love to hear those pealing bells, climb Golden Gap (what fabulous views!!) and attend the Harvest supper with you. Our church will have one on Oct. 27th, also in the village hall. The church decorations are beautiful...such clever ladies, and the flower baskets are very creative too.
Your photos and words paint a wonderful picture and I so much enjoy seeing and hearing about your glorious part of the world!

At 10:00 pm, Blogger Tabor said...

I just re-read this post as I have more time to savor the photos. I have promised myself to visit your area of the world someday. Maybe we can get together!


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